How did Mark McGwire "dash" our hopes? The issue is steroids, and Mark McGwire is stilling living in the closet. In front of a Congressional panel, he refused to answer questions -- he pleaded the fifth. That does not mean that he used steroids or he did not.
La Russa said he first contacted McGwire about the coaching job a week earlier, when he was still supposedly mulling his future. He said McGwire showed immediate interest, but the manager said the steroids topic was not broached.
Does it bother me either way? No, it does not. Barry Bonds was, is, and will continue to be my favorite baseball player. But his use of steroids came about after he saw the 1998 McGwire/Sammy Sosa love-fest, and he made a joyless power-grab, an egotistical, Ty Cobb-style mission to be the greatest home run hitter ever. We all know that he was using growth hormone and anabolic steroids. Tell-all exposes can lie, but a rapidly growing skull does not. In essence, Bonds played the part of the villain beautifully, even reaching his goal.
What role did Mark McGwire play, and what role is he still playing? He is not hero, victim, or villain. He is mired in the closet, denying and acknowledging, and stringing us along the whole way. Hypocrisy kills; it's not the original crime, it's the coverup. Mark McGwire needs to come clean regarding the culture of major league baseball during the steroid era.
McGwire continues to break our trust. We all thought it was possible for a man to be 6'5'' and 250 pounds and pound the baseball into the stratosphere -- clean, without the drugs. That was a lie -- a lie of omission -- and it needs to be acknowledged. He toyed with us, coyly letting us think that he was Paul Bunyon, more legend than man, and he was in our minds. The closet served him during those halcyon days, but now it will rear its head like a menace and a cancer now that he tries to revive a major-league baseball persona turned into a Gothic man-with-a-past than (think Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre). Mark, if you plan on staying in the closet, do so out of the public eye. If you plan on being in the public eye, come clean about what you and others used during the steroid era.
Is this a witch-hunt, a baseball McCarthyism? No. I'm not asking for McGwire to name names, Elia Kazan-style. He needs speak honesty, and admit that all he ever loved was baseball, and that he wanted to be the greatest slugger of all time, and that the spirit of the times got the better of him. Sometimes the criminal can save face with honesty. The gravity of the situation is large -- is McGwire a Nixon-in-denial -- hated, territorial, lying -- or is he a Shoeless Joe Jackson -- a sympathetic man, who held the best intentions, but was wronged by circumstance? I won't hold my breath. L'Affaire McGwire continues! The only way out of the morality play is the truth.